Competitive Poetry?

Poet (and colleague) Sophie Mayer is posting a poem-a-day throughout April, getting in on the action of America’s National Poetry Month.
This frantic, deadline based creativity reminds me of Layer Tennis, still going strong and coming to the UK right now.
Perhaps someone should inaugurate some kind of competitive poetry competition? Not quite as adversarial as MC Battles, more a lettered exchange, where (like in Layer Tennis) you get points for developing and complementing (if not complimenting) your opponent’s work. Having said that, the obvious name for the competition is Versus.
But until that venture gets off the ground, we’ll always have PoetCasting.


Excellent: Likestarlings (h/t Sarah).

2 Replies to “Competitive Poetry?”

  1. Sounds like the Japanese tradition of poem cards, which was sometimes a literal contest and sometimes a court ritual, the object being to work out the metaphor and references in a correspondent’s poem and respond in kind, developing the themes further. Sei Shonagon explains this way better than I can. Similar informal contexts seem to have been afoot in the English Renaissance court, where poems were circulated between courtiers like Sir Thomas Wyatt. In a sense, it’s what poetry is always doing, although perhaps not in the high pressure environment of day-to-day battle, as writers respond to the tradition and their contemporaries. I wonder, in terms of a ‘battle,’ if common grounds exist for such an exchange now (outside of the ‘coterie’ of slams and MC battles, where the audience and performers are steeped in the genre and each others’ work), with writers coming from so many different traditions, forms, sets of references (which diversity is, to me, a good thing)? Your post raises two interesting questions: do deadlines create competition? And does conversation have to be time-sensitive?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.